PROFESSOR ALI SUKHANVER
“The terrorists and militants are not in Afghanistan, but instead are hiding in neighboring Pakistan”, said Hamid Karzai talking to the relatives of civilians killed in a raid by international forces in Asadabad, in the second week of March. Asadabad is the capital of eastern Kunar province. He further said that the international troops should leave Afghanistan and take their fight against terrorism across the border into Pakistan. The statement of Mr.Karzai, no doubt, must be shocking, embarrassing and depressing for the whole of Pakistani nation. It is something very difficult to estimate whether his words are a reward or a punishment for all those services that Pakistan has been rendering since long to the people of Afghanistan. It would be certainly a very bitter remark that Pakistan would have been a very prosperous and peaceful country if Afghanistan were not there in the neighbourhood or Pakistan had remained indifferent to the trials and tribulations to which the people of Afghanistan had been forced into. Karzai’s attempt to portray Pakistan as a safe haven for the terrorists is certainly condemnable. The matter of fact is that all terrorists and so-called militants operating in Pakistan have their roots and links in Afghanistan. They are nurtured there in Afghanistan and then exported to Pakistan. It is the criminal negligence of the Karzai government that it has never taken any serious action against the most lucrative cottage industry of Afghanistan that is producing terrorists in bulk at a large scale.
It is a daylight fact that Pakistan has always been earnestly desirous of a peaceful solution of Afghan issue. Mr.Karzai must not have forgotten the time when Pakistan heartily welcomed and cordially hosted millions of Afghan refuges in spite of all its limited sources and opposing international pressure three decades back. That was the time when the countries neighbouring Afghanistan imposed a martial-law type of security along their borders with Afghanistan just to keep the Afghan refugees away from their lands. Instead of criticizing Pakistan, Mr.Karzai must have appreciated and applauded the favour and support that Pakistan has always been providing to Afghanistan. It is nothing but cowardice of the Afghan president that he is always diffident and apologetic when talking of the atrocities of the international troops in Afghanistan and very much aggressive, violent and hostile while referring to Pakistan. He never seems the representative of the Afghan nation; he looks more like a tool, a dummy and a puppet but his attitude is nothing novel and unexpected; he is behaving in the same way as his predecessors had always been. It is something very pathetic and painfully unfortunate in the history of Afghanistan that most of the time the rulers did not belong to the people of Afghanistan. They always acted upon the agenda provided to them by their foreign masters and drove Afghanistan to the shore of devastation because of their thoughtless policies. President Karzai is also standing in the same queue of imprudent rulers. He never does anything for the people of Afghanistan but take care of the foreign interests. Apparently he is president of Afghanistan but inwardly he is simply acting as a caretaker of the US and Indian interests in the region.
It is something very much obvious that a peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan is in the larger benefit of Pakistan. In other words Pakistan’s own peace and prosperity is directly linked with peace and prosperity of Afghanistan. Pakistan has always been earnestly wishing for creating suitable conditions to reach peaceful and viable solutions based on principles in Afghanistan. Unfortunately anti Pakistan elements have always created an air of suspicion and mistrust between Pakistan and the coalition partners in Afghanistan and more unfortunate is the fact that President Karzai is knowingly or unknowingly leading these creators of mistrust and suspicions. One thing must be kept in mind that no one else could be more effective and useful than Pakistan in bringing peace and stability in Afghanistan. Any effort regarding political solution of the Afghan problem would be simply wastage of time and energy if Pakistan is kept away from the scenario.
For the last many years, President Karzai has been providing a lot of kind support and favour to India in Afghanistan. It is simply because of his support that India has very lucratively succeeded in involving herself in every walk of life in Afghanistan. According to the details provided by the international media, India is at present one of Afghanistan’s top six donors. Not only in the field of economic support, but also in all other possible sections of political and non-political relationship, we find India swiftly sneaking into Afghan social fiber. The credit of all these achievements goes to Karzai’s anti Pakistan and pro India policies. Karzai’s statement at Asadabad proves that he is simply acting as a spokesman of India because it is Indian desire that the Allied forces must turn their guns to Pakistan in pursuit of the so-called terrorists.
The fact of the matter is that there are no safe havens for the terrorists in Pakistan. The People living in the tribal areas of Pakistan are very much peace loving. They have nothing to do with terrorism. However it is true that some foreign supported elements are trying their utmost to distort the law and order situation in the garb of extremism. The government of Pakistan is trying its best to tackle with these problem creators with the help of Pakistan army and the support of the local people very successfully. The Allied forces need not waste their time and energy in search of terrorists in the tribal territories of Pakistan as suggested by Hamid Karzai.
The writer is a Pakistan based analyst on strategic and defence affairs.